Each year, one of the most reputable analyst firms, Gartner, issues a report on top technology trends based on dozens of analyses developed by this powerhouse. The acceleration in the adoption of technologies provoked by COVID-19 impacted every industry and perhaps was one of the silver linings of such a dreadful year. We began 2020 in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, controversial, and ambiguous) mode but as the pandemic evolved, deeper changes happened.
A decade ago, technology was mostly about enabling connections, developing powerful platforms, and creating smart devices. The conversation revolved around products and the human role was just another part of the equation. Today, people are indisputably at the center of the conversation in ways never imagined as digital transformation has become a vital necessity. Thus, what seemed to be a concept out of a management book, living in a VUCA world, became a self-evident reality for everyone.
Gartner identified the following trends: Internet of Behavior [IOB], Total Experience, Privacy-Enhancing Computation, Distributed Cloud, Anywhere Operations, Cybersecurity Mesh, Intelligent Composable Business, AI Engineering and Hyper Automation. In this article we will cover the first two: Internet of Behavior and Total Experience.
Internet of Behavior
For years, we have listened to experts in marketing talk about the great advantage of having big data available at our fingertips. During the same period, we have seen how these same experts challenged the actual value of big data if not used properly. Over time, some companies became adept at deciphering and using big data. The technology that helps gather this data and the entity that processes it evolved significantly. The resulting insights could be used for many noble purposes, but in some cases, it has been used to influence behavior in ways that individuals are not aware of. The recent Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, addresses both the ethical and insidious use of big data to influence behavior.
Not so long ago, it seemed like a breakthrough to use B2C channels to reach out to B2B targets. Marketing experts were delighted to see how they could connect in more effective ways with clients who were not necessarily end users of their products and services. Talent experts who used email and phone as their main communication channel are now amplifying their reach and impact with numerous communication and productivity platforms. Technology allowed companies and brands to bring to consumers a more robust and effective mix of experiences adopted because of COVID-19. The user experience, the employee experience, and the client experience will continue to improve the options marketers have to position products and services, improve conversations, and impact the bottom line. The customer journey will continue to be enhanced and improved, while clients and end users will benefit.
Though we might be looking at perhaps 10 to 12 months before we return to some sense of normalcy, consumers and brands will continue to write the diary of the future. A major reform is in the works, nothing so drastic as what we have lived through in 2020…but undoubtedly more profound than ever.